When I was a boy, my father would take me along to the liquor store to exchange bottled beer.
The checkout counter is flanked by a roller conveyor stacked with the cardboard cases holding the returnable bottles. Crisp new cardboard. Faded fuzzy cardboard. Clear Bottles. Green bottles. Brown bottles. Kingsbury. Blatz. Rhinelander. Budweiser. High Life.
The conveyor slopes gently down into the darkness of a basement cellar. Each case the cashier puts at the top of the conveyor pushes the row further into the darkness, into the musty smell of stale beer and mouldering cardboard.
I am just tall enough to peer over the edge of the counter down into the darkness of the cellar. The cashier leans in with a warning,
“Careful, Boy, The Beer Monster is down there.”